Breastfeeding is undeniably best for your baby and completely natural for you both. But like any new experience it can take a little time to master. So don’t be disappointed if you find things difficult at first. With the right technique and some practice, you’ll find that things soon get easier. With this in mind, we've put together some useful breastfeeding tips to make sure you're on the right track.
There are a number of different positions you can breastfeed in. If one’s not working for you, try another. Often, if you lie back in a well-supported position with your baby on your chest, they will move themselves towards your breast to start feeding. Or you can do this lying on your side. Just make sure their head and body are in a straight line and that you support their neck, shoulders and back while they reach for your breast.
Being comfortable will help your baby feed as well as possible. So experiment with a few positions to see what’s best. Remember your comfort too, and make sure you’ve got a drink to hand as it can be thirsty work!
Following these tips can help with breastfeeding:
- Position yourself comfortably in a supportive chair or with cushions
- Hold your baby’s whole body close with their nose in line with your nipple
- Let their head tip back slightly so their top lip can brush against your nipple. This should help them open their mouth
- The back of the neck and shoulders should be supported but their head should be free to move around
- Once their mouth is wide open, bring your baby up to your breast (not the other way round)
- If your baby is latched on correctly their bottom lip will be curled back and the only visible area of your areola (the dark skin around your nipple) is above your baby's top lip
- Their cheeks will look full and rounded as they feed. Also look out for movement around the ear – a good sign they’re swallowing
- Their whole body should be facing you during feeding, so make sure their tummy is against you at all times
- Let their arms move freely as they feed. You’ll find that allowing them to press or touch your breast will stimulate the milk
It’s natural for your baby to pause from time to time. If you’re finding feeding uncomfortable, try using a supportive v-shaped pillow. Painful feeding could be caused by your baby not latching on properly, so changing positions may help. Slip your finger between your nipple and their mouth to gently dislodge them, move your baby away from your breast and try to position them again.
Watch this short video from Aptaclub for a step-by-step guide on how to breastfeed your baby.
Tips to enhance your breastfeeding experience:
- Support your back and neck with cushions
- Ensure your baby is properly latched on, this can ease nipple soreness
- Let your baby drink their fill from one breast, they will tell you when they've finished. Burp them and then offer the other breast, if they're not interested then start with that breast at the next feed.